Avoiding Spam Filters in Your Email Marketing Campaign

For anyone who has ever put together an email newsletter campaign, there is nothing more frustrating than knowing that all of your hard work has ended up in someone’s spam filter. Adding to that frustration level is the fact that you are not selling magic pills nor are you an exceedingly benevolent prince from a faraway land just trying to get a little help on a money order.  While there are certainly external factors that you cannot control, there are quite a few variables that you can control when trying to avoid spam filters. Here are a few basic tips to help guide your email to its proper destination.

  • Take a step back. Like many parts of life, sometimes we get so immersed in what we are doing that we lose an objective standpoint on the situation. If you are solely focused on the goal of driving business and using all of the “right” marketing terms, you might be falling into the trap of speaking in Spamish. Take a step back, pretend you are a recipient of this email, and ask yourself whether or not you would see this email as a genuine outreach or one that seems like it was cranked out of the spam factory. In many cases, the goal of an email is to spark interest and prompt a click that leads to your website. Coordinate your email so that the links you provide to your website lead to a webpage that is a continuation of your email’s message. Let your website flesh out the facts and provide more of the thunder for your sales pitch. Too much lingo and sensationalism in your email not only sets off red flags with people, but also with spam filters. Whenever you make strong sales pitches and guarantees, encourage immediate action, and focus too much on savings and money, you are setting yourself up for failure. This approach begins with your subject line and ends at the footer of your email. Spam filters are smart and comprehend Spamish fluently.    


  • Formatting. On the obvious front, you should always avoid typing in all caps and ever using more than one exclamation point to end a sentence. Using excessively large fonts, bright font colors, and flashing text are generally frowned upon by spam filters, too. Less obvious, is the fact that email marketing platforms and spam filters are typically not big fans of text imported from Word. When you copy and paste from Word, you are also attaching unnecessary formatting code to your text. This code can mess up formatting in the actual creation of the email, as well as the end product that is received. If you are importing text, it is a good idea to do so from a program like Notepad, even if it serves as an intermediary between Word and your email editor.


  • Layout. Keep the graphics to a minimum. It might look visually appealing to create one big graphic that looks like a page from your stunning website, but spam filters do not like it. The body of your email should be written in html, not embedded in a graphic. People use different email services and view emails with a wide-range of devices, so your graphic might not necessarily show up for everyone.  Furthermore, if you were, indeed, a spammer and wanted to speak in Spamish without the filters realizing it, wouldn’t it make sense for you to get around being detected by just embedding the text into the graphic? Yes, it most certainly would. Spam filters are smart, however, and know this trick, which is why they automatically hate emails that are structured this way. The general rule is to have at least 75% of your email in the form of html text.


  • Provide your information. First and foremost, always provide a reply email address. If you are providing links to your website in your email, which should always be done, it is preferential that you use an email address whose domain matches that of your website’s. For example, if your website is, a good reply email address to provide would be, rather than a generic web-based email service address.  Unless your website is (amazingly still up for grabs), this approach should help your credibility. Also, you must provide your full physical address in your email (usually placed in the footer), as it is required by law.


  • Utilize your platform. Regardless of the size of your email list, it is always a good idea to use a reputable email marketing service.  Not only will they make creating and managing your campaigns much easier, but they should also provide plenty of tools to help ensure that you are not flagged for spam. Placeholders to put all required or highly advisable information, as well as automatically generated opt out links, are all a big help. Furthermore, most quality email marketing services provide a tool that analyses your email and assigns a spam score to it.  That is a tool that should be used before sending out any email marketing campaign.

The overall key to creating an email marketing campaign is to be natural and genuine. Be the voice and image that your company constantly projects, and do not feel as if you have to resort to tricks that deviate from what you are. This basic premise, combined with the guidelines outlined in this article, will go a long way in helping your message reach and impact its intended audience.

Please contact us for more information on effective email marketing campaigns.